Defending the restored church of Christ - I created this blog several years ago to provide an alternative to what I saw at the time as a lot of bad "Mormon blogs" that were floating around the web. Also, it was my goal to collect and share a plethora of positive and useful information about what I steadfastly believe to be Christ's restored church. It has been incredibly enjoyable and I hope you find the information worthwhile.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The majority of Mormons live outside the US

(by Sarah Petersen 8-30-13)

The LDS Church released several statistics regarding membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world. The LDS Church has 14,782,478 members worldwide, with 56 percent living outside the United States and Canada.

Numbers also showed the LDS Church as the fourth largest Christian religion in the U.S. with 6,321,416 members.

The Mormon Newsroom reported that according to the National Council of Churches, the LDS Church is the second-fastest-growing church in the United States. The Newsroom recognizes that growth rates vary across the world, and said "many other factors contribute to the strength of the Church, most especially the devotion and commitment of its members."

Recently, the LDS Church released a series of videos to provide an introduction to the church, its members and various doctrines, programs and organizations.

"These videos help facilitate an introduction to the church for those who may not be familiar with our beliefs and practices," LDS spokeswoman Ruth Todd told the Deseret News. "Church members may choose to share the videos through social media channels, while those serving in a public affairs capacity can use the videos in their outreach to leaders in their respective communities."


Monday, August 12, 2013

Pearl of Great Price; Joseph Smith History, verses 51 - 54, 59 - 60

Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.

 Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.
 I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger, and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.
 Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
 I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight.

Friday, August 9, 2013

'Mystery priest' helps at near-fatal accident site

(by Linda Williams 8-9-13)

Rescue and emergency workers are praising a priest who they say mysteriously appeared at the scene of a serious traffic accident last Sunday and helped save a woman's life.

Those on scene said not only did the priest seem to show up from nowhere, but he does not appear in any of the nearly 70 photos of the scene of the accident in which a young woman almost died.

USA Today reports a Tulane University sophomore, Katie Lentz, 19, was driving from Illinois to Missouri for church services when her Mercedes collided with another vehicle. The wreck flipped her car on its side and trapped her in the crushed metal.  After trying to rescue her for 45 minutes, crews decided to flip the car, which they feared could further threaten her life.  Lentz asked for someone to pray for her and a silver-haired man dressed in black pants, black shirt and black collar with a priest's white insert said, "I will."

Raymond Reed, fire chief of New London, Mo., told USA Today it was odd to see the unknown priest at the crash site.

"We're all local people from four different towns. We've only got one Catholic church out of three towns, and it wasn't their priest," he told the paper.

Sheriff's deputy Richard Adair told KHQA he feared the priest would send the wrong message to Lentz.

He said he told the priest they were worried Lentz would think they'd given up hope.

"He said, 'I just want to anoint her,' and so we just let him come up to the scene,' " Adair told KHQA.

The priest prayed and dropped anointing oil onto Lentz, whose vital signs improved.

 Additional equipment arrived, allowing crews to flip the car and rescue Lentz.

She was flown to a hospital.  Rescuers said the priest remained on scene for several minutes, but when they went to thank him, he was gone.  Reed called it a miracle.

"I would say whether it was an angel that was sent to us in the form of a priest or a priest that became our angel, I don't know. Either way, I'm good with it," he told USA Today.  

Lentz's mother reported on Facebook that her daughter underwent two surgeries but is expected to make a full recovery.

The Diocese of Jefferson City hasn't located the priest and according to KHQA said, "Out of respect for the privacy of any priest who may have been involved and does not wish to come forward, the Diocese does not plan to further investigate this incident."


Mexico City MTC training hundreds of missionaries

(by Jason Swensen 8-9-13)

Several weeks ago, Bryce Rodabough was serving as a Bingham High School student body officer, sporting T-shirts and enjoying his final days of class before graduation.

Things have changed. The 18-year-old South Jordan native now calls Mexico City his home — at least for another week or two. He wears a tie every day and tops off most of his meals with a corn tortilla. He's doing his best to converse with others in Spanish.

And everyone calls him Elder.

Elder Rodabough is one of 733 full-time Mormon missionaries studying at the recently opened Missionary Training Center in Mexico City. Many, like Elder Rodabough, are from Utah.

For the past few weeks, almost all new missionaries from the United States and Canada who have been called to Spanish-speaking assignments in those two countries are coming to this sprawling, 91-acre campus for intensive language training. Many other North Americans assigned to serve in Latin American lands are also spending their first six weeks of missionary service here at the Mexico City MTC.

Just a few months ago, the majority of North American missionaries with Spanish-language assignments studied at the MTC in Provo.

That changed following the pivotal announcement last January that the storied, church-owned Benemerito de las Americas school would be transitioned into a missionary training center.

Ceremonies for the final high school graduating class at Benemerito were held on June 14. The MTC's first wave of new missionaries arrived about two weeks later.

"The transition is practically complete," said Mexico City MTC President Carl B. Pratt. "And we still have a lot of room to expand."

An emeritus general authority and a Mexico native, President Pratt has witnessed decades of steady growth throughout his country and across Latin America. Still, he recognizes the new MTC in Mexico City is a dynamic symbol of a historic, hastened period of missionary work in the church.

Last year, the church announced a new minimum age policy for missionaries beginning full-time service — age 18 for men, 19 for women. Since then, there has been a surge in young people accepting mission calls. New or repurposed facilities and infrastructure, such as the former Benemerito school, were needed to handle the increase in missionaries.

The Mexico City MTC is able to accommodate 1,000 missionaries.

Despite the large number of elders and sisters studying here, the facility feels open and airy. Each day, instructors take their students outdoors to review their lessons under tall shade trees.

Companionships practice their Spanish outside their dorm rooms or on a bench in one of the center's many plazas.

Time at the Mexico City MTC is not limited to rigorous study. Almost every day the elders and sisters have access to the center's variety of athletic and exercise facilities. Many missionaries have fun playing basketball, outdoor volleyball, ping-pong, soccer or Ultimate Frisbee. Others burn off the day's stress in the center's training room.

"Sunday is my favorite day of the week," said Elder Collin Butterfield, 19, of West Jordan. "It's a break from all the regular study of the week, and it's very spiritual."

In a few weeks, Elder Butterfield will leave Mexico City and begin his Spanish-speaking assignment in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission. His time at the Mexico City MTC has provided him an appreciation for the Latino culture and people.

"I love it here," he said. "You can approach anyone, say 'Hola, como esta?,' and in an instant you have a new friend."


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Artwork by Howard Lyon

Mary Kept All These Things and Pondered Them in Her Heart - Howard Lyon